For most professionals, your job history (commonly listed as Professional or Work Experience) is where hiring managers find a lot of your value. This is where you detail in a reverse-chronological order what you did, for whom, where, and for how long. Though there are many ways to write a job history, there are some tried and true methods for making it clear, concise, and interesting - essentials for getting noticed by a hiring manager.
Here are some of the top questions I receive from clients about their job history and ways to address common issues:
Q: Should I include month and year when listing my tenure dates?
A: It really depends on the amount of time you spent at your jobs. I would recommend including months if your jobs are relatively brief (less than two years). However, if you were in your past positions for five or ten years, there is really no need to disclose the months of employment. The most important thing is consistency – make them all one way or another. Finally, be honest. Don’t try to be deceiving with your dates. If you were at a job from Nov. 2010 to Jan. 2011 and you list it as 2010 – 2011, they will figure it out that you were only there two months, not an entire year!
Q: What if I had more than one job at a company?
A: The best way to present growth within a company is to start by listing the name of the company with total tenure. Then, list relevant titles with dates for each role. If you relocated, that should be shown as well. Here’s an example:
ABC, Inc. 2004 – Present
- Underwriter I, New York, NY, 2004 – 2006
- Underwriter II, Newark, NJ, 2006 – 2009
- Supervisor of Underwriting, Newark, NJ, 2009 – Present
Q: How many bullets are too many?
A: Hiring managers tend to bore and move on at about the 6th bullet. Therefore, keep it to six at the most and list your more impressive and relevant bullets first.
Q: I have way too much information! How can I organize it better?
A: I encourage clients to balance each job entry with equal parts responsibilities and accomplishments. You can organize this information in paragraphs or bullets, which ever works best for you. Just remember to keep it clear and concise.
A good way to present an abundance of relevant information is to separate it by heading. This is especially helpful if you changed functions or departments during your tenure, or if your job includes many different functions. Here’s an example:
- Finance Director, ABC, Inc., New York, NY
- Accounting: Responsibilities and accomplishments in this area…
- Forecasting & Pricing: Responsibilities and accomplishments in this area…
- Leadership: Responsibilities and accomplishments in this area…
Just remember, there is no right way to create a job history. The most important things to remember when writing your job history are clear and concise presentation and complete transparency.